More often than not, people start with cheap machines when setting up their garage or just a shed for DIY projects. This is true even for welders as well. Somehow, we garage warriors think that a bit of compromise is okay when setting things up. However, this is the first mistake among many we make.
Take the hammer and nails as examples. If someone swings a cheap hammer back and forth to hit the nail on its head while on a job, the head might fly off in a different direction. Cheap hammers do a poor job when joining their heads with the wooden handle. This is the same case for sheet welders.
“Cheap” sheet welders might have an inconsistent arc. It’s common to malfunction even if the voltage and Amp counts are off by one or two digits. That’s why you need quality tools that are meant for your line of work. The slightest bit of compromise WILL put you off your game. You know that now, don’t you?
This is the reason I came up with this article. Here, I’ll be pointing towards the best welder for sheet metal (the candidates). Brief reviews will give you an insight into my experiences with these products.
Additionally, I’ll chip in a buying guide of sorts to help you find your own match if you’re interested. Later, we’ll go over the tips and tricks of doing sheet metal welding together. Let’s get on with the article, shall we?
- Best Welders for Sheet Metal – Comparison Chart
- Top-Rated Welders for Sheet Metal
- Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
- PRIMEWELD TIG225X 225 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder
- Forney Easy Weld 140 MP
- Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder with Dual Voltage
- Forney Easy Weld 261
- How to Get Your Hands on the Best Welder for Sheet Metal Yourselves?
- Welding Tactics 101: How to Weld Sheet Metal?
- Let’s Put an End to the Discussion
Best Welders for Sheet Metal – Comparison Chart
|Name & Brand||Max Amp||Volts||Weight||Price|
|Hobart 500559 Handler||200 Amp||115V||57 pounds|
|Primeweld TIG225X||225 Amp||110, 220V||90 pounds|
|Forney Easy Weld||140 Amp||110V||25.8 Pounds|
|2020 Weldpro||200 Amp||220V, 110V||30.4 pounds|
|Forney Easy Weld 261||140 Amp||120V||19 pounds|
Top-Rated Welders for Sheet Metal
When welding sheets with your machine, you should have the perfect arc. Also, our machines should always heat up the sheets in a precise manner to help you strengthen them while we find ways to join them with parts in case of automotive gigs. You’d need specific machines for the job.
That’s why I’ve rounded five of the very best in the business in this section with brief reviews detailing my experience with them. Let’s get on with it then!
Let’s start things off with something you won’t be too uncomfortable relying upon. Hobart welders aren’t actually new in the game. This brand has been providing efficient machines that offer safety, durability, and most of all… superior results when compared to the contemporaries.
I found the Hobart 500559 Handler to be very much capable of proving itself worthwhile through the specs and features. I’m guessing you already want to know what’s been cooking up inside me when I spoke highly of this little machine. Well, you’ll find out soon enough.
A smooth and stable arc is something that primarily makes for a good welder. This 140 MIG Welder doesn’t disappoint in this regard. No matter the thickness, it’ll produce the best arc each time. Sounds too good to be true? Well, hold on to your seatbelts. We’ve only just begun.
I’d argue on the fact any day that the purpose of technology should be to primarily make work easier. The device doesn’t fall behind when convenience is taken into consideration. Starting from the quick and easy Polarity changeover… to a sloped control panel, everything seemed pretty well planned.
Speaking of a better-optimized experience, you’ll be able to save your valuable time with the quick select drive roll. Offering three grooves – two for different size solid wire and the third for flux-cored wire Hobart really took things to the next level.
As I mentioned before, automated safety features have also been given great priority. I’m trying to get at the Self-Resetting Motor Protection and the Self-Resetting Thermal Overload Protection features. You can say goodbye to pesky overloads and the unwanted hassle of changing the circuit breaker.
I can pretty much see the smile on your face right now. But wait, we still have a few more things to go through before this one is done and dusted. This wouldn’t actually be a proper review if we didn’t talk about the physical aspects of the product.
With the minimal weight of 57 pounds and the handy inclusion of a carrying handle, the welder becomes quite portable. It has the dimensions of 10.625 in x 12.375 in x 19.5 in. It really doesn’t take up too much space. Which I appreciate as it’s easier to work around within the workshop.
Let’s wrap this one up with the welding capacity that this machine actually has. There should be no problems when dealing with Steel, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum. It welds 24 gauge up to ¼ inch mild steel. This makes it pretty optimal for most sheet metal welding.
If your primary goal is to look for the welder for sheet metal in terms of fast and efficient welding, then the PRIMEWELD TIG225X 225 Amp IGBT AC DC Tig/Stick Welder can be an intriguing option. It might not get the job done as fast as your regular MIG welder, but it’s definitely more accurate and precise.
This particular machine is built to meet the unique expectations of modern welders. Versatility meets quality with superior power modulation and the inclusion of the IGBT technology. The unit comes with CK17 flex torch as well as CK flex tubing and the CK Dinse connector.
The handy little addition of a foot pedal makes it all the easier to use. The main feature of this machine is probably the start AMP 10 to 225. Don’t forget the pulse end AMP 10 to 225. Within the range of 110v and 220v, it can ensure high performance along with an array of pulse features.
I know that these technical features sound impressive. But there’s more to a power tool than just how well it can perform. The materials used in the tungsten rod are argon and filler wire. Argon is used as the shielding gas.
If you’re doubtful about reliability, then the solid construction and high-quality materials should speak for themselves. It might seem a bit large, but the design is rather impressive and well thought of.
It really doesn’t matter if you’re used to automatic or semi-automatic welding. The TIG225X should serve you well both ways. A concern for many might be that it requires accessories like an electrode positioning system, arc voltage control, oscillator, etc. But these additions offer quality nevertheless.
It also includes earth cables, TIG torch, and a regulator. I noticed the additional tools and accessories that come with the package. It pretty much covers all the possible requirements for a proper sheet metal welding experience.
Now for the controls. Well, the interface is pretty basic and not too difficult to get by. It comes with up/downslope time control and after-flow time control. These options combined with the overall power output make for ideal nickel alloy, stainless steel, titanium, mild steel, and copper welding.
The TIG225X operates on DC pulse, DC TIG, and DC MMA. Also, on AC TIG and AC MMA. Offering versatility like never before and at the fulfilling, all other expectations at the same time make this welder one of the best options to consider.
This one is a bit different from the others. You must’ve heard of multipurpose welders before. These babies can function as 3 in 1 Stick Welder, MIG Welder, and DC TIG Welders consecutively. The best bit about the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP multipurpose welder is, it offers all that without sacrificing quality.
Let’s talk about how capable it is at MIG welding.
Even though it’s set up to do flux-core welding, switching to run mild steel with a gas setup isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. As a matter of fact, at 140 amps, you can weld up to ¼” mild steel in a single pass. Just manage the regulator and hose separately and you should be good to go.
Time to move on to TIG welding. To use this process, you’ll probably need to purchase the right torch, regulator, hose, tungsten electrodes, and gas separately.
Even if you’re willing to go by some stick welding, the Forney Easy Weld 140 MP can easily run stick electrodes. The stinger and ground clamp included with the package I found it to be rather impressive that this unit can weld with electrodes up to 1/8”. That’s what I call Versatility at its finest.
The functionalities aside, I’d like to put forward the ease of use aspects too. The effort put by the guys at Forney is clearly visible in the simplistic design that pulls through all sorts of welding demands. The easy-start feature and the three-position switch make work a lot easy.
Infinite voltage and wire feed speed controls make it possible to dial in the perfect weld. The rated output voltage ranges from 12 – 23V and the rated output current ranges from 43 – 110A. The full output current range being 10 – 140A, I’d say the numbers are pretty good (Considering the price).
I mean… yeah, so it’s built to perform but is it built to last? Yes! It most certainly is. An all-metal case has been implemented so that it not only feels rugged but also becomes capable of taking external shock. Plus, it’s big enough to handle 2- and 10-pound rolls of wire.
The all-metal wire drive assembly isn’t something I’d shrug off. It speaks of quality just as it offers solidity. This drive offers you the possibility to use external wire feed as well.
Lastly, if you’re curious about the accessories, the welder comes with 10′ MIG gun, 8′ electrode holder, 8′ ground clamp, Integrated handle with torch wrap, 20A – 15A adapter, and one additional .030″ contact tip. It’s basically a complete set that’ll serve you in every endeavor.
Let’s face it! A list of capable welding machines would seem pretty incomplete without a welder from Weldpro. I mean, their reputation does speak for themselves. Praises apart, if you’ve done your research, you’ll find the Weldpro 200 Amp to be a solid contender among the best of them.
Before starting off, let’s see what the package actually comes with. Inside, you’ll find a 10ft MIG torch ERGOPLUS15, a TIG torch: 13 ft. WP-17V, an Electrode holder: 5AWGx10 ft. 200A cable 35-50 quick connector, an Earth clamp: 5AWGx10 ft. 300A cable35-50 quick connector and a Gas hose too.
There are many (Including me) who are quite concerned with the size and dimensions. I was happy to see that it’s just about 25.2 × 12.8 × 24.2 inches.
Now, that’s actually compact if you ask me. With the addition of the carrying handle, it becomes rather portable. Moving it around really shouldn’t be an issue.
This 200 Amp welder has distinct features that place it beyond the threshold of common MIG and Flux-core welding. With the combined capacity of true lift TIG welding, stick welding, and aluminum welding, the MIG 200 becomes an optimal choice for those who prefer diversity in their work.
You guessed right; this is an intuitive synergic-ally designed MIG / Flux Core welding machine. You basically get the best of both worlds in a well-designed space-saving unit. It practically weighs 30 lbs. Nevertheless, it’s quite capable of providing sufficient output.
How so? Well, that’s because the device is well equipped with the IGBT inverter technology. There are also advanced inductive settings for smoother, cleaner, welds with less spatter. Even if you check the Amperage Range, I’d bet you’ll be pretty impressed by the numbers.
I wouldn’t really call a welder “Good” if it doesn’t live up to my expectations when it comes to convenience. Yes, ease of use does matter. You won’t really have to worry about adjusting the voltage and wire speed constantly. The included auto-adjustment features make life a lot easier.
Operating the Weldpro 200 amp is pretty much hassle-free. That’s IF you know what you’re doing. The Dual Digital display offers better control if you’re dealing with repeatable welds each time. 2T/4T modes, spool gun capability, and advanced DC lift TIG features add up to the overall efficiency in usage.
If brazing of dissimilar metals is in your agenda, then the TIG braising technique might come in real handy. Plus, the user-adjustable inductance settings, VRD high temp, and overload protection with indication ensure overall safety and far better work experience if compared to the average welder.
I simply wouldn’t be doing justice to this list of welders if I don’t end it with a flare. That’s exactly why I saved this green little beast for last. The Forney Easy Weld 261 packs enough power to really heat things up. If you’re into substantially increasing your work efficiency, you’re reading about the right stuff.
There really isn’t any bar you can set of how good a welder can be. But according to my expertise, dealing with sheet metals require more than what the normie welders can deliver. The guys at Forney don’t pull their punches when they mean business. The Easy Weld 261 proves the fact word by word.
Many of us face unwanted difficulties while dealing with mild steel. No matter how good of a craftsman you are, your machine needs to pull through. This welder goes guns blazing with a whopping 140 Amp output. Dealing with mild steel up to 1/4 in plate very much comes within the sphere of possibility.
How does this welder actually excel in its performance each time? The answer is intriguing in itself. This 140 FC-I MIG machine uses 0.30, flux core wire. Perfection comes within hand’s reach with the infinite voltage and wire feed speed control. It’s truly an unexpected surprise within this price range.
Keeping aside what you’ve heard so far when it comes to welders, size “Does” matter. You really wouldn’t want to burden yourself with something oversized. With the dimensions of 16.75″ (425.45 millimeters) x 8.125″ (206.38 millimeters) x 12″ I’d say this one has just the right proportions.
But what about the weight? Would you want your welder to be a burden all the way? That’s a big no-no! I was more than glad to see that this baby here can be carried with one arm. I mean, 8.61 kilograms won’t make me break a sweat when I would need to get my welding done away from my home.
All that is just fine and dandy. But what does the package have to offer aside from the welder itself? The 8′ MIG gun, 8′ ground clamp, Integrated handle with torch wrap, and a 20A-15A adapter that comes with the box promise a complete welding experience. Regardless of you being a professional or a hobbyist.
After portraying all the perks and efficiency, let me tell you, the machine isn’t far behind on durability either. With the duty cycle of 30% @ 90A, you should be well of for years to come. Even the handle is sturdy and built to handle a 10-pound roll of wire along with the welder.
I really can’t speak for anyone else, but judging by the features and convenience, the Forney Easy Weld 261 is a steal! Definitely worth considering if you’re willing to get the best welder for sheet metal within the best value.
How to Get Your Hands on the Best Welder for Sheet Metal Yourselves?
Before rushing off and saying something like “Metal sheets, here I come!” I’d suggest you hold your horses and follow my lead a tad bit longer. I know I already created a strong impression about which particular welders might be ideal for you. But still, let’s guide you through how I found them.
Knowing Your Stuff Should be Priority One
If you think that there’s a set rule on this type of welder is perfect for sheet welding. So… yeah, it’ll be a problem if you’re not well versed in the art of sheet metal welding. But before you get into that, you need to consider your options. By options, I mean to get at the type of welders you can choose from.
We’re gonna go sequentially from MIG, TIG, and multi-purpose welding. Each of these has its own perks. Checking the benefits of the tools is the trait of any wise craftsman. So, let’s begin.
MIG welding can come to you as an easy to learn the method. It’s not really hard to get the hang of it. Plus, if you’re in a time crunch, then you’ll be better off with MIG welding as it’s very time efficient. Moreover, it’s ideal for dealing with thinner metals.
TIG welding is far more precise than MIG welding and can produce the highest quality joints. Yes, you guessed it right! It takes more time to get the job done. However, the use of a foot control will enable you to adjust the heat input. It’s a great thing to have for perfectionists.
Then, we have Flux-Cored welding, stick welding, and so on. While stick welders are made for thicker materials, they are quite easy to go about windy and adverse situations as well. If you go for the Flux-Cored ones, you’ll be in better control while dealing with dirty or rusty materials.
Now that you know about the stronger sides of each type of welder, all you have to do is be sure of what kind of project you’re about to take up. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you high and dry. Let’s move on to that part now.
Projects Are the Keys to Selecting the Right Welder
I’m going to assume that your hands are skilled enough to handle the project you’re going to take up. In this case, sheet metal welding. Even if you’re not, you can recheck the “How To” section. That should give you the basic tips which will be helpful regardless of your skill level.
TIG welders are pretty common when people consider joining sheet metal. But that’s nothing constant. MIG welders can be taken into consideration when we wish to be more economical. What I’m getting at is, if you just get a sole purpose TIG welder and think you’re good to go. You’re very wrong.
But yes, there are generalizations when you select a particular type of project. Suppose you’re only going to do stainless steel tanks and neat sheet welds. Then, the best way to go about it would be a strong and easy to seal TIG weld.
Your question now would probably be, “Where do MIG welders come in? Are they really feasible when welding sheet metal?” The answer would be “Yes.” But the positivity of my statement revolves around certain conditions.
Clearly speaking, a MIG welder won’t give you a refined finish nor is it too good when it comes to sealing security. MIG welders excel when coated steel sheet metal needs to be joined without too good of a decorative finish. In these circumstances, I’d suggest a MIG over all others any day.
Yes, both of the welder types can come in handy in certain projects. If I’m thinking automotive repairs, shrouds, and guards I will definitely use the mixture of TIG and MIG welding. The ratio would depend on the specific project though.
Also, you can get the diversity needed from one welder if you select a multi-process welder. They offer maximum efficiency in many cases. Switching between welders isn’t really smart in one sitting if you ask me.
We Should Always Prioritize Safety While Operating These Things
Efficiency in power, quality, and convenience is undoubtedly a thing. But if the machine doesn’t offer proper safety, I’d say all of it won’t matter much. Safety is probably more of a prime feature that’s fundamental while considering a welder to be good.
Okay, what makes a welder “Safe?” First of all, the power line and the cable should be well built with superior materials. Electrical hazards are best avoided by precautions. Most of them are taken beforehand. I’d prefer it if the manufacturers take responsibility. I bet you would too.
If you want to be even more cautious, put on a safety dress. That’ll reduce the possibilities of accidents to great extents.
You Need to Be Able to Rely on the Machine
We don’t buy welders to use for a month or two. I personally would like my device to last. If you want to get the most from your welder. Be it a MIG or TIG or some other welder type, you have to be sure that the exterior armor/ body is built well. The next priority should be the quality of the inner components.
The best way to do that is by taking reference from a trusted party. Or, you could just do an extensive amount of research like me. Then again, you wouldn’t be here if you were like me. Jokes apart, on the usual rate, reliability depends on brand value to great extents.
The formula is simple, check the brand, go through the specs, and just to be safe, check the warranty.
Reduce Muscle Stress by Choosing a Portable Device
Working with a welder is supposed to be work, and not “working out.” I don’t think you’d deny the fact that carrying around a behemoth of a machine isn’t fun (At all). That’s exactly why I prefer smaller and more compact designs. This not only saves space but makes the welder more portable.
If you want to be more generous to yourself, I’d suggest not to consider a welder without a well-built handle. The addition of a well-placed handle helps out a lot when you need to move the device around with you. This little portability feature can literally make day to day work a lot easier.
Your Wallet Size Matters as Well
The only thing that stops you from getting a better welder is your budget. But you actually can work your way through and make the best use of your money.
In the current marketplace, the chances are very high that you’ll find what you need even if you don’t want to spend too much. You don’t always have to go for the welders that have the premium price å≈tag. Some bang for buck welders actually gives the big boys a run for their money.
Some low budget welders hit the nail on the head when it comes to features that actually matter. They will never be tåhe same as the high-end ones. But they will get the job done well. Look for the specs and features you actually need in a welder. There’s a good chance you’ll find the best option.
Let’s Get Specific with the Specifications (Depending on Welder Type)
Sheet welding can be a tough task to handle if you don’t know how to go about it. You need to get the welder and the process right. Each type of welder has its own process. You should look into particular aspects of each welder type (i.e. what they’re offering and which metal they handle the best).
Not everything can be generalized. The quality of each type is measured by different features entirely. Let’s delve deeper into the topic.
What you should look for in MIG Welders
When it comes to MIG welders I’d suggest you to look for the input power first and foremost. The input power is basically the voltage that the metal inert gas welder will run at. I’m going to be very specific about it. 110 to 140 volts is the household standard. This is pretty much expected from basic outlets.
If your welder only runs at 220 volts (Whether it’s cheap or premium) It’ll probably need a different outlet entirely. If it isn’t a specialized project, I’d rather not recommend it.
Other things like Duty cycle and Thermal Overload Protection are basic things to consider as well. But you might want to add 10 more minutes to whatever they say about the duty cycle on the box. As for the thermal overload protection, I’ll finish it quickly by saying, “You Need It!”
The Things to Keep an Eye Out for in TIG Welders
TIG welders excel on thin and delicate metals. Just make sure the machine can offer high performance on low amperage. If you want to go for the thickness of ½” or more, you probably will be better off with MIG or stick welding.
I’d prefer a bit of versatility in the TIG welder I might choose. Well, to be precise, I should say I’m talking about the versatility in power output. The best performance is ensured by DC output. As far as magnesium and aluminum welding is concerned, AC output would be ideal.
So, considering the situation, purchasing a combination AC/DC machine is the smarter choice.
If you want to opt for the business of high-end or precision manufacturing, TIG welders with AC capabilities are the best solution.
The Features to Consider for Stick Welders
Looking for the best welders for sheet metal without considering a stick welder would be an incomplete expedition (In my opinion at least). Some features are “Stick Welder Specific”. Let’s start with the tech that’s used.
Rather than going for a basic stick ARC welder keep a keen eye for advanced IGBT Inverter Technology or Stick welding or Easy Start technology.
As for the power source, stick ARC welders are normally designed to work on the input power of 110V to 220V or 240V. Some might be even cordless. There are a few models that operate on dual voltage. Say, AC 115V & 230V stick welders are pretty common now.
So, it does come down to what you prefer for yourself. It goes without saying, you can’t overlook the limitation of the power outlet that you’re going to use. In this case, it’s better to choose wisely.
Welding Tactics 101: How to Weld Sheet Metal?
You’re not a very good craftsman if you freak out when a new type of work comes at your doorstep right? Have no fear, there’s a first time for everything and I’m here to guide you through the basics. Just follow the simple tips and tricks and hopefully, we’ll see a new welding pro in the making.
You’d Want to Minimize Burn Through
This is more of an awareness tip. Burn throughs happen when the molten weld pool collapses. It practically dismembers itself from the workpiece and results in a large hole instead of an effective joint. This happens mostly because of high temp inputs. T to avoid this, just be cautious about the temp.
Thin-gauge metals like sheet metals demand lower heat inputs as the low bead appearance might cause higher amounts of spatter. You’ll most likely face these problems when working with stainless steel filler metals. All the more reason to be careful while dealing with them.
The Right Torch Angle Will Impact Your Work
Would you believe me if I told you, torch placement has a direct impact on the energy transfer? You’ll need to consider the properties of the metal you’re dealing with. Keep in mind the melting point too when deciding on the working angle and travel speed.
All these factors impact the amount of energy the metal is exposed to at once. The risk of a burn-through depends quite a lot on the torch angle variation.
Let’s Discuss the Pulsing Method
The trick to pulsing is, you just heat a small section of the plates that you intend to join. After that, the weld pool should cool down completely. Don’t fill in the join all at once. It’s a bad idea. Because you’ll risk the possibility of creating a hole in the workpiece.
This technique has high metal penetration and metal deposition rates. What I’m pointing at is the intensity of energy exposure warrants extra care. Especially if you’re working with brittle material. Use the shortest diameter for the wire. This’ll minimize the possibilities of risks.
I mean, it’ll take less energy to melt. The heat transfer to the base metal gets reduced to great extents. Consider pulsing in your daily work routine. You won’t regret it.
Miscellaneous Tricks That I Advise You to Follow
Let’s go through some simple instructions that’ll make your life easier on multiple levels. Avoid using a filler wire that has a diameter with greater significance than that of the base metal.
Cable selection “Is” a thing. Try getting an ER70S-6 cable certified by the American Welders Association Classification. This offers greater wetting coverage and maximizes the contact area.
Don’t just don’t use a Direct Current Electrode Negative. It can be really dangerous and counterproductive at the same time. Less heat on the filler wire and more to the base material just isn’t good. Overheating the workpiece and not having enough filler deposit to actually form the joint?
I really wouldn’t want that. I’m sure neither will you.
Use a Direct Current Electrode Positive polarity instead. It basically does the opposite. You won’t be on the losing end.
My last bit of advice would be for you to use shielding gas with a high argon percentage. It doesn’t transfer as much heat as pure carbon dioxide. I’m pretty sure all this info will ensure a better welding experience for you in the long run.
Let’s Put an End to the Discussion
If you’re here reading concluding remarks on this small (pun absolutely intended) guide on the best welders for sheet metal, I must congratulate you. It took some effort on my part in putting the entire thing together. I’ve pulled every ounce of experience (and then some) while recommending these tools.
However, there’s a catch. These machines don’t work the same in the case of different metals. For me, Hobart’s products are a bit higher in preference than the rest. Hobart 140 is a good place to start.
You could go with Forney as well if you want some “Flux-core” welding done. Easy Weld 261 is a good choice if you’re trying your hands on Forney. Be careful about the warranty for these things.
IF you’re still unsure about “How to Weld Sheet Metal” using these tools, refer to my rather small guide at the end where I went into the process. Do let me know about your experience while handling these tools in the “Comments” section below. Let’s engage in a fruitful discussion.